I’m A Man Because You are A River
On this river bank
in a most pleasant seat
under a cool canopy
of Kumbuk trees
I will rest awhile
for a brief respite in life
Here and there in the high canopy
caressed by long fingers
red leaves rustle in the breeze
they move and show
the blue sky in a floral pattern.
its shadow falling on the water
breaking into a thousand little fragments.
When the sun’s brassy rays
flow along with the river
the jeweled lights
float in the soft darkness beneath the canopy
the grandeur is beyond words
and only a poet can sing of it.
Free from other ‘samsaric bonds’
my mind falls in love
As with a language so familiar
I understand what you say so coyly
smiling like the foam
as you go winding along
amidst the rocks
breaking into a symphony
I will throw away the watch in my hand
I will throw away the shoes on my feet.
Leaving you where else can I go?
As I shed my clothes
one now and then another
I see my own body’s image
like a dark shadow
Because I am a man
and you are a river
let’s melt softly
in a loving embrace.
Is there another way?
Translated by A T Dharmapriya
Dry Season: Riverside
You paddle away into the distance …
And I still sit on the bank
Before me green eddies in the river;
mid-day, and the wet sun glints
in the paddle strokes
The etti trees that survived the storm
are laden with bitter fruit beside the bank;
and scattered coconut palms guzzle the sun
On the bridge the crowds pass, still unhushed ….
Boatman, you paddle still further away
I sit on the bank alone
Translated by S Pathmanathan
RICHARD DE ZOYSA
But Every Gull is Not Called Jonathan L.
When first love dies, it is like a sea-bird
plunging from the wheeling heights of ecstasy
into black waters.
There is a moment, as you rip through the heaving surface
when sensation is all
abandonment to the depths is complete
and there is no thought.
No words. Then down down,
chasing the winking gleam of a fish
until reality clasped firmly in your beak
you emerge ………. rocket-like
you burst into the day’s hard glare
climb once more, but to a more conservative height.
(the day goes on, but the thrill is gone)
soon comes night.
And as you turn and head for home
there is a sad salt tang in the breeze
that draws at your consciousness, saying
No more the high-flung heights. No more
the light fantastic on the gusty winds.
Security is all